Barbara McDonald

Obituary of Barbara McDonald

McDonald, Barbara Leona (nee Big Canoe)

Passed away peacefully at her home on Georgina Island on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at the age of 83 years. Barbara, beloved wife of the late Donald McDonald. Dear sister of the late Buzzy Big Canoe and his wife Sandra and sister in law of Jane McDonald. Beloved Aunt to Lenny, Derek (Lesley), Ian (Rachel), Donna (John), Charles and Christopher and her many other nieces and nephews. Barbara will be fondly remembered by her extended family and friends.

Barbara was born on Georgina Island where she was raised by her grandparents, Thomas and Hannah Big Canoe, while her mother, Margaret, worked in Toronto. After graduating from high school, she started her first job at the Royal Bank of Canada in 1951 in Toronto. In 1962, she was a chorus girl for the General Supply Theatre. Then from 1964-1982, Barbara worked at Lyndhurst Hospital and Sunnybrook Hospital where her compassionate caring heart led her to train as a nurse's aid, working with paraplegic patients.

She married the love of her life, Donald Eugene McDonald, on November 22, 1957. They shared a lifetime of adventures until his passing in 1992. They lived in Edmonton and Toronto, and travelled to many places until they settled back on Georgina Island and built their home together.

Barbara eventually returned to school and graduated from Lakehead University from the Native Language Program in 1988 as a certified language teacher. Barbara was a passionate advocate for the preservation of the Ojibway language, Anishnaabowin. She taught classes on Georgina Island to all ages, and worked at Waabgon Gamig First Nation School until last year. She was a patient and loving teacher who taught not only the Ojibway language, but also had respect and love for all of Creation, pride in her community and the importance of education.

Barbara loved her church on Georgina Island and served as a Board Member for many years. She also served as an Elder to Chief and Council, and to the Ogemawahj Tribal Council where her thoughtful insight and wisdom at meetings were greatly respected.

In her life, Barbara overcame many hardships and accomplished many achievements. Her sharp wit, wonderful stories, strong faith in the Creator and love of music are just some of the qualities that made "Auntie" such a special person.

Special thanks to Auntie's caregivers: Connie, Ellie, Beth, Sheila and Amy.

Friends may call at the Forrest & Taylor Funeral Home, 20846 Dalton Road, Sutton for visitation on Sunday, March 19 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Funeral Service will be held in the Knox United Church, 34 Market Street in Sutton on Monday, March 20 at 1:30 p.m. with visitation in the church from 12:30 p.m. If desired, donations in memory of Barbara can be made to the Georgina Island Native United Church. Memorial condolences can be made at